A Hard Raines Gonna Fall

The Triumph of Cynicism at the ‘Times’

For whatever reason, CIA director Dulles didn't want the journalist poking his nose into U.S. activities in Greece and elsewhere. In October 1960, Dulles and Grogan sent the Trib's D.C. bureau chief a memo accusing Demetracopoulos of being "untrustworthy" and out to "embarrass the U.S."

They also included a draft letter, to be signed by Trib managing editor Fendall Yerxa, notifying several Greek agencies that Demetracopoulos's press credentials had been revoked. Donovan forwarded the letter to Yerxa, who reproduced it, signed it, and mailed it to the intended recipients. Suddenly Demetracopoulos was out of a job.

In 1962, the journalist appealed to Senator Richard Russell, a Democrat from Georgia who was then chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee. In that capacity, Russell summoned CIA director John McCone to meet with him and the writer. On August 13, 1962, Demetracopoulos recalls that Russell told McCone "an injustice was committed" and asked him to rectify it. Four days later, the journalist was rehired by the Trib.

That should have been a victory for Demetracopoulos, who says the incident left the paper "looking like a toady for a U.S. government agency." But as he now realizes, it was he who had "embarrassed and exposed" the CIA as an institution, and for that, he would have the agency "on my neck" for the rest of his life.

Donovan, the man who did the CIA's bidding, continued as the D.C. bureau chief for the Trib and then the L.A. Times, enjoying his access to power and recounting it in subsequent memoirs. Now retired, he did not respond to a request for comment.


« Previous Page